Housebroken by The Behrg
This book wasn’t for me and after reading half and then skimming a third, I ended up not finishing it. The execution of the ideas didn’t work for me.
Publisher’s Description: “It was a kidnapping, but in all the wrong ways. No ransom, no demands; there was nothing they wanted–other than to observe.”
When Blake Crochet and his family are taken hostage in their own home, they are forced to act out their everyday lives under the observance of two psychotic kidnappers. Each moment Blake must pit the decision to follow their captors’ rules against the potential catastrophe of a failed escape.
He soon learns that the consequences of both action and inaction are more terrifying than he imagined. As Blake’s life erodes beneath him, secrets come to light that threaten to destroy his family before their kidnappers have a chance.
Secrets carry consequences too.
As the motives behind the kidnapping are revealed, Blake must sacrifice everything to hold on to the ever-shifting definition of what his family has become. In his battle for survival, he will face the ultimate consequence: for to fight a devil, you may have to become one yourself.
What I didn’t like: Nearly everything else. The book is too full of tropes. A few here and there, used liberally, work well. The book starts with the flash forward with someone stuffed into a dog cage. For a flash forward to work, though, I have to care about the character. At this point, I don’t even know him. Keeping that scene in mind, I didn’t develop sympathy for the character until the forty percent mark, but it didn’t last. And that’s my other problem with this book. In trying to be real and give depth to all of the characters, the protagonists aren’t sympathetic even when something bad is happening to them.
The other tropes I didn’t like were the character shrugging off damage with little to no effect. At one point, a character is not only doused in gasoline but swallows some, perhaps breathes some into his lungs. After throwing it up, and getting the rest washed off, he’s fine. That’s not how gasoline poisoning works.
However, the reason I stopped reading the book was two fold. One, I thought we had the denouement but when the book slowed down then went for more action, I couldn’t read more. I was only skimming at this point, ready for it to be done, not start up again. Two, the actions the main character were taking made no sense to me. At that point, he should have been going after the antagonist, not caring about recovering data because the antagonist was his proof that he was innocent of the crimes.
Final thoughts: I really wanted to like this book. I like the darker toned idea. I think it would work much better as a novella, shortened to tighten up the narrative, remove the tropes, and either focus on being a psychological thriller or an action story. Too much was crammed into one space, and that ultimately made it less interesting than I hoped.